By Derek Wenmoth
A contemporary version of Samson and Delilah
Other characters can be mimed to the narration as required.
It was a quiet afternoon in the middle of town. A few cars passed from time to time and the occasional customer came and went from the ice cream store on the corner - apart from that things seemed pretty ordinary. Ordinary that is until you looked down the road to the headquarters of the "Steins". The Steins were the local gang who liked to think they ran the town - and to mostly they did, by intimidating people and always poking their noses into everyone else's business. They'd moved in quite a few years before and just sort of taken over the place. They didn't take too kindly to being told what to do - and anyone who dared stand up to them was quickly taught a lesson. Yes - they pretty much ran the town all right.
Their headquarters was an old house which looked like the site of an all night party - except no one quite got around to cleaning it up before the next one began. There were several ideas on how they got their name - most people favoured the idea that it came from a local beer brand which was their favourite. Shorty Erikson, who been beaten up by them a few times, reckoned it was short for Frankenstein - because that's who most of them looked like! (now you know why he got beaten up by them!)
The leader of the Steins was a bloke called Phil - a menacing character who seemed to stand out from the others because he was a bit bigger (and uglier according to Shorty Erikson!). On afternoons like this Phil and the Steins used to like to just hang out on the lawn outside their headquarters and survey their 'patch'. And that's just what they were doing on this afternoon as a certain young man walked by.
"Who's the dude with the hair?" asked Warty Smith - one of the newer members of the Steins, - as he pointed across the road, "hasn't he heard that long hair's not cool any more?"
"That bloke's not into fashion - he's never had it cut!" replied Butch Matthews with a bit of a scowl.
"Who is he anyway?" asked Warty Smith again.
"Dunno his name," grumbled Phil, "his Dad was Sam - everyone just calls him Sam's Son."
"Looks weird to me," said Warty, "why won't he cut his hair?"
"Something to do with his parents and a promise they had from God.." began Phil.
"Promise from God!" laughed Warty, "next you'll be telling me he believes in the tooth fairy! Why don't we just go over and teach him a lesson?" he said, hitting his fist into his hand and looking uglier than ever.
"Be my guest, he's all yours!" sneered Phil, gesturing across the road with a wide sweep of his arm.
Warty was a bit taken aback by this from Phil - Phil, their leader. Phil, the man who feared nothing. "Don't tell me you're afraid of him?" questioned Warty.
This comment had the attention of all the Steins, and their gaze was now on Phil to see how he was going to respond. Phil took a moment to think about his answer, but before he could open his mouth, Butch Matthews spoke up:
"That guy's bad news, Warty - we've tried to teach him a lesson before - but he's so strong! Isn't that right guys?"
All of the Steins nodded, looking decidedly uncomfortable at the memory of past encounters with this guy they called Sam's son.
"But he doesn't look that strong - I reckon you've got bigger biceps than him Phil," suggested Warty. Phil just sat there, stone-faced.
"He's strong all right," Butch went on, "remember the time he wanted to marry Tamarah?"
"Who's she?" asked Warty.
"She was Phil's girlfriend," said, Butch.
"Uh," muttered Warty, sensing there was something pretty awful about to be said.
Butch went on, "Phil got so mad he drove his motorbike straight at him."
"And did he hurt him?" asked Warty.
"Hurt him? Sam's son just stood in the way and when the motorbike was about to hit him he grabbed it and threw it to the ground. Ripped the handlebars right off it! It was a write-off!"
"What happened then," asked Warty.
"I'll tell you what happened - Phil ran off, and Sam's son began muttering in riddles. Then he ran after all of us in the gang and gave the lot of us a real hiding!"
"All of you," asked Warty in astonishment.
"Yes all of us," replied Butch.
"Boy, I'll bet you really wanted to get him after that." said Warty.
"We sure did," said Scarface Jones, another of the Steins, "we heard he was hanging out with the Judah gang later on, so we went over there to teach him a lesson."
"The Judahs - that pack of wimps? What happened?" asked Warty.
"Well, you know the Judahs are scared stiff of us Steins," said Scarface, giving everyone in the group a knowing look, "When they saw us coming they offered to bring him out to us all tied up - and we fell for it!"
"What do you mean you fell for it,?" asked Warty.
"Well - they brought him out all tied up all right, only, when they dumped him there for us to collect, Sam's Son just stood up, broke all the ropes off like they were bits of string and then came after us swinging a piece of exhaust pipe he found lying on the ground. That was another beating we need to get even on!"
Warty could tell from the nodding heads and mumbles that this gang had a score to settle. "So what did you do next? Was that the last of it?"
"No - we did try to get him again. He was in town visiting another of his girlfriends."
"Seems this guy has a weakness for the girls, eh?"
"Yes - but that's the only area he's weak in! We waited all night to get him - sort of an ambush, you know, but he tricked us completely. Caught us completely off guard!
"What did he do?" asked Warty.
"See these big gates here?" Butch asked, pointing to two enormous wood and iron gates which the Steins used as a part of their fortification, "He came right up to our HQ, ripped those gates off their hinges and carried them all the way up to the top of that hill over there!"
"That guy's a maniac!" Warty breathed, obviously impressed by that feat of strength, "either that, or he really does have God on his side!"
As he spoke, Sam's son walked by again, this time he had a beautiful girl at his side. The Stein's looked up, muttering under their breath.
"Just can't leave the girls alone can he?" observed Warty, "especially if their hair matches his!"
"Hey, that's Delilah Smith isn't it?" said Butch, looking more intently across the road.
At the sound of that name Phil looked up. "Delilah Smith? I know her," he said, "This gives me an idea.."
A few days later, Delilah Smith was on her own on the corner of the street near the Stein HQ, waiting for Sam's son to pick her up. Phil seized his opportunity. He walked over to her. "Gidday Delilah, long time no see?" he said casually.
"Phil - what do you want?"
"Oh - nothing really - just, we saw you've started dating Sam's son."
"What if I have?" asked Delilah, still chewing on her gum.
"Well, the Steins are interested to know what makes him so strong - I don't suppose he's told you has he?"
"No - why should he?"
"No good reason, I guess, but if you did happen to know we'd be prepared to make it worth your while."
Now Delilah was pretty keen on this new man in her life, but the prospect of making a bit of money on the side was also pretty appealing - after all, what would it matter if the Steins knew what made Sam's son so strong? "How much?" she asked.
"$5000 and a ride on my Harley any time you want it," offered Phil.
This was too good to be true - "OK, you've got a deal." Delilah replied.
The next time Delilah was out with Sam's son she snuggled up to him and asked, "what makes you so strong - I can't think of anything which could hold you down"
Sam's son smelt a rat, so he told her, "well, if you really want to know, all you have to do is tie me up with anything made of leather - that pretty well renders me useless!"
On hearing this Delilah ran to tell Phil and the Steins. That night, while Sam's son was sleeping, several of the Steins took their leather jackets and cut them into strips which they then used to tie Sam's son up with. When he was so tied up that you could hardly see him beneath the leather strips, the Steins hid in the corners of the room, waiting to see what would happen when he woke up.
Taking her cue, Delilah called "Sam's son, Phil and the Steins are here to get you - look out!"
In a flash, Sam's son was awake. He stood up and with no effort at all he broke free from the leather strips. Phil and the Steins took off from their hiding place faster than a cat with its tail in a mousetrap.
"You tricked me," said Delilah, teasing Samson's hair with her fingers, "the leather didn't make you weak at all. Tell me - what is the secret of your strength?"
"Well, if you must know, my strength leaves me completely if you braid all of my hair so that I look like Stevie Wonder, then nail each braid to the floor - that'll leave me as helpless as a kitten," Sam's son told her.
Again, Delilah went to tell Phil and the Steins, and that night, while Sam's son was sound asleep, they braided his hair and nailed it to the floor. Again, they hid to see what would happen, while Delilah called out, "Samson, Phil and the Steins are here again, watch out!"
With that, Sam's son was wide awake. His head twitched just a little, straining the braids against the nails. "We've got him!" thought Phil.
No sooner had he thought this, than he stared in amazement as Sam's son stood up, literally tearing a part of the floor away with his hair. The Steins couldn't believe their eyes - and they were out of there!
Delilah decided on a softer approach this time. She spent all day preparing a special meal, and wooed Sam's son long into the night. When he was completely relaxed and like putty in her hands, Delilah popped the question. "Come on darling, tell me what makes you so strong."
Now, maybe it was the time of night, or maybe it was the effect of Delilah's cooking and her sultry voice. No one can be quite sure, but in that moment, Sam's son succumbed to a weakness within him - a weakness which seems to have plagued mankind since the beginning of the age - and he told her.
"If you cut of all my hair, then you'll take away all my strength," he told her.
Delilah looked at him, not sure about this one. "Yeah, right, so I'm supposed to think that making you into a Christian Cullen look-alike will make you weak -sure."
"Delilah, I'm telling you the truth, when I was little my Mum made a promise to God about it... but it's too late to explain, just believe me." Sam's son smiled as he gave into the sleep which was overtaking his body.
Delilah sat there thinking. Finally she got up and went to see Phil and the Steins to tell them of this latest news. Phil was skeptical at first, but something about the promise to God bit made him think there could be something in it. He and the rest of the gang crept quietly to where Sam's son was sleeping. Carefully they cut off every last lock of his hair. This time when Delilah gave the call, Sam's son could barely lift himself up from his bed - his strength had gone. Phil and the Steins were on him like a shot. They did all sorts of man and nasty things to him which I can't describe here because this is a family show, but they certainly got their revenge.
Not only did they leave Sam's Son very bruised and sore, but they had made him blind as well! After a while the Steins dragged Sam's sonback to their HQ where they chained him up in a shed out the back and left him there.
The Steins kept Sam's son with them for months after that. Every day his hair grew back a little more, and his strength came back little by little. But it wasn't much use to him now - the Steins had him pretty well chained up, and with the blindfold on he couldn't see a thing anyway. He was simply their captive. As his hair became longer and longer, he became stronger and stronger, and the Steins used to get him to bend iron bars and lift heavy weights to entertain them at some of their parties.
It was at one of these parties that Sam's son began to have a few thoughts. He could hear Phil skiting to a lot of his mates about how brave he was, and how tough all of the Steins were - how there wasn't anyone who was more powerful than they were. Sam's son thought about the promise his mother had made to God, about his long hair and about his strength. He thought about all the times he'd gotten himself into trouble because he'd been off doing what he wanted to do, and not listening to the advice of his friends. In those days, if trouble came, he'd simply use his strength to get out of it. And he thought again about his Mum, and her promise to God. "These Steins can't get away with this!" he thought to himself, and he prayed a prayer - the first one he could remember praying for a long time, "God, give me strength!"
He stretched his arms out to feel the two big supports to which he was chained. Although he couldn't see the place, he'd been there before and could remember that the Stein HQ had had all the interior walls taken out to make room for their parties. These supports were the only things holding the whole roof up.
In the background he could hear the sound of Phil and the Steins partying it up, and he decided to do it. With an enormous heave he pushed the two supports away from him, collapsing the entire roof in on top of himself and Phil and the Steins.
© Derek Wenmoth 1996
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This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged.
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